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emerging technologies

The Living Room



How does mobile technology change how classical forms of cathartic entertainment, particularly theater and puzzle games, can be realized? How can storytelling, gameplay, and mobile technology be combined to create a successful, coherent, and rich interactive piece?

Art and Science


Game design is now using mobile technologies to explore the potential of the real world as a playing field. Drawing from the availability and advantages of digital video, wireless, and RFID technologies, this project seeks to transform traditional theater and puzzle-gaming experiences into a new type of entertainment experience.

Goal


To deliver a rewarding experience via story, interaction, and play. The project is designed to deliver an entertaining and cathartic experience that challenges, frustrates, and rewards. This encompasses many sub-goals, including creation of a solid gameplay system, creation of a compelling narrative, and successfully compiling these into a physical experience. The project also aims to encourage a compelling spatial interactive experience through its narrative and gameplay.

Innovations


The Living Room combines several common and uncommon technologies to deliver a unique experience:
  • Position tracking: Each moving unit contains an RFID reader that communicates with Director MX via serial USB cable. The floor is embedded with 21 RFID tags programmed with ID codes corresponding to the painted clues they are beneath.
  • Peer-to-peer communication: Each of the laptops runs an identical Director executable that communicates wirelessly with a separate "parent" computer. The parent computer keeps track of all three unit positions and of which clues are locked or unlocked, sending the appropriate commands to the units as needed.
  • Portable power: Each unit is powered by a gel-cell battery (similar to a car battery) running through a DC/AC inverter.
  • Digital video: Scenes were shot on three Canon XL1's with a cast and crew of over 20 volunteers. Video was edited in Final Cut Pro, and playback is controlled by the Director executable. Each unit contains a 17-inch flatscreen LCD monitor for optimal viewing.

Vision


As technologies evolve, new forms of entertainment will emerge. This project aims to participate in this progress by combining the elements of traditional entertainment with emerging technologies in a unique way. It explores the possibilities that wireless and RFID technologies provide and applies them to entertainment and play.

Contact


Victoria Fang
vicky.fang (at) gmail.com
acm.org siggraph.org